U.S. Ambassador to Poland Hosts GCMC Alumni in Warsaw

Photo of Poland ONE 24 Panel

U.S. Ambassador to Poland Hosts GCMC Alumni in Warsaw

The George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies hosted an Alumni Outreach Networking Event at the residence of U.S. Ambassador Mark Brzezinski in Warsaw, Poland, March 6. This is the second occasion Ambassador Brzezinski opens his doors to the Marshall Center alumni community since 2022. The event, attended by 55 alumni, invited guests, and representatives from both U.S. and German Embassies, proved to be a dynamic platform for dialogue and networking.

Alumni in attendance represented a span of 25 years of GCMC resident courses and acknowledged the Regional Center’s long-term engagement and networking efforts.

Photo of  Amb. Brzezinkski at Poland ONE 24

The event's topic was, "Approaching NATO's 75th Anniversary Summit: Defense, Deterrence, Ukraine, and a New Strategic Era." Opening remarks were delivered by Amb. Brzezinski, German Ambassador to Poland Viktor Elbling, and GCMC Deputy Director, retired Brig. Gen. Timothy McAteer. The main panel discussion featured expert speakers Mr. Daniel Lawton, U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, Amb. Elbling, and Maj. Gen. Maciej Klisz, Operational Commander of the Polish Armed Forces and GCMC alumnus. Rear Adm. Piotr Niec, Visiting Military Professor seconded to GCMC from the Polish Armed Forces, moderated the panel.

Amb. Brzezinski reflected on the upcoming 75th anniversary of NATO, which the United States is hosting at the NATO Summit in Washington D.C. in July.  He called it the most ambitious summit since the end of the Cold War, which would serve to highlight NATO’s ability to adapt to new and evolving challenges and threats. 

Photo of Poland ONE 24 Group

During his opening remarks, Amb. Elbling discussed the impact of the Marshall Center in the region, considering it “very special for Germany and maybe one of the most important elements of the transatlantic partnership. And we have to repeat how important it is for us.” He also touched on the concept of Zeitenwende, emphasizing “that we are in a new era/new time and defense and security are at the center of our government’s thinking, but it will need a bit more time for the German people to understand this.”

Brig. Gen McAteer recognized Poland as “at the forefront of Ukraine support and NATO’s strongest partner on the eastern flank,” commending it as a “courageous and steadfast leader among the nations of Europe in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine.”

The expert panel discussion covered various topics, including possible Ukraine membership in NATO, addressing so-called "gray zones" in Europe, and current military perspectives within Europe and the capabilities needed to credibly deter an aggressive Russia.

Photo of Poland ONE 24 Participants

Reflecting on the event, Rear Adm. Niec noted, “the large audience and significant interest reflected positively on the unique relationship between the Marshall Center and our Polish alumni.” Attendees engaged in frank and open discussions on the security environment in the Euro-Atlantic region, comparing views and perspectives from the United States, Germany, and Poland.

Alumni participants expressed high appreciation for the event, with many thanking Amb. Brzezinski and the U.S. Embassy for their hospitality and the unique opportunity for alumni to meet and discuss critical current events with distinguished speakers and panelists.

“Gatherings of alumni such as this are an important opportunity for Marshall Center alumni to promote cooperation, share ideas and best practices, and engage in continuous professional development. They are also proof that the time spent in Garmisch is just the beginning of a lifelong relationship between the Marshall Center and its alumni,” said Frank Lewis, GCMC Alumni Relations Specialist and event organizer.